Community Capacity Map/Guidelines

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Contents

Abstract[edit]

This page describes how to contribute to the Community Capacity Map. It contains general principles and offers specific self-assessment guidelines for each capacity.

General principles[edit]

Principle #1: This is not a test. Nor a competition.[edit]

The goal of the assessment provided by the CCM is to provide useful information about the capacities present or missing in a group, a community, or an organization, with a view to identifying and acting on opportunities to build and improve that capacity. The information should be useful for everyone, from the community/org/group itself, through independent experts and volunteers interested in lending a hand, to the Wikimedia organizations investing in capacity building across the movement. The capacities described are considered useful to promoting mission-aligned work, and some are necessary at certain scales or degrees of formality.

It follows that in self-assessing, people should not feel pressure to overstate or over-represent their group's capacity to meet some presumed standard or to "keep up with the Joneses" (i.e. another group). The best course of action is to honestly assess the group's capacity using the assessment guidelines below.

Principle #2: This is neither objective nor scientific.[edit]

The CCM is based on self-assessment by communities, groups, and organizations. While it strives to enable meaningful comparisons through the self-assessment guidelines below, the nature of self-assessment necessarily means different groups may interpret the guidelines differently, apply them differently, etc. Cultural norms around self-criticism and self-evaluation may also skew or distort the assessments somewhat. This is all okay.

Despite how subjective these assessments may be, they are nonetheless meaningful as an indication of what a given group perceives their capacities to be, and is a basis for discussion and planning when considering a capacity-building project with that group.

It is understandable that opinions may differ about a group's capacity. An outside observer may well assess a group's capacity as X when the group itself assesses it as Y, and that's okay too. It is fine to have your own opinion about a group's capacity, even if that opinion is "this group seems to overestimate its X capacity". This, too, can be a basis for a (respectful, civil) conversation with the group.

Principle #3: This is not binding.[edit]

Nobody, including the Wikimedia Foundation, is bound to act or not act, invest or not invest, etc., by anything found in the CCM. This opt-in, self-assessment-based tool entirely relies on voluntary participation, and one may take the information in it with as much or as little salt as one finds appropriate.

Specifically, a group would not be penalized or rewarded based purely on what the CCM has listed about it. It is possible that with time, if the CCM proves to be a healthy, useful tool, it would become more meaningful to see a group's capacity change over time on the CCM.

It is the intent of WMF to use the CCM to surface insights about needs and opportunities in capacity development. However, any such aggregate indications would then be explored further, going beyond self-assessment (e.g. interviews by staff, data mining), before WMF decisions are made about investments in capacity-building projects.

Principle #4: community ≠ country ≠ affiliate[edit]

We recognize that communities often span different countries (and therefore contexts), and that affiliates are not the same as the communities and constituencies they serve. Some capacities make more sense in the context of one and not the other.

For example, "financial reporting" is a capacity relevant to incorporated organizations, and is not a meaningful capacity for, say, English Wikipedia as a whole. Likewise, "event planning" is a meaningful capacity for an affiliate or local volunteer group, but isn't a good aspect to assess for an entire wiki community. On the other hand, contributor retention is a capacity largely to do with a whole wiki community, and can be meaningfully assessed for the community as a whole; however, it can also be assessed for an organization, in terms of retention of the new contributors its programs attract.

Likewise, the difference between community, group, and organization may require assessing capacities separately and in the right context:

For example, the English Wikipedia community as a whole may have high capacity in, say, technical skills such as Lua scripting and Wikidata integration, while volunteers of the English Wikipedia in, say, Uganda, may have low capacity in those fields locally. To capture this capacity gap, it would be necessary to evaluate the technical skills capacity separately, in both the whole-community level and various local group levels.

While the obvious context to address local contexts is affiliates (user groups, chapters, thematic organizations), anyone is welcome to offer an assessment of their group's capacities in the CCM, whether or not they have an affiliate. For example, if there's a strong interest in capacity building specifically among editors of Romanian Wikipedia in Moldova (where there is no affiliate yet), they can contribute self-assessments about their group to the CCM, even without an affiliate.

When contributing, do make sure you adequately represent your group at the right level and report about the group's capacities specifically.

Principle #5: high capacity ≠ robust capacity[edit]

A group may have capacity, even high capacity, in a certain area, entirely thanks to the efforts of one volunteer. Should that volunteer become unavailable for a prolonged time, or permanently, the group's capacity may suddenly plummet to zero, or to a much lower level, if there are no other resources to take that volunteer's place in providing that capacity.

The degree of a group's capacity's resilience in the face of the unavailability of one or two volunteers will be called robustness in the Community Capacity Map, and is understood to be largely orthogonal to (i.e. independent of) the level of the capacity itself.

Thus, a group may have low capacity in some area, but with high robustness, meaning it can maintain that low capacity even without one or two key volunteers; likewise, a group may have high capacity in some area, with low (or no) robustness, meaning it would come to a halt in that area if one or two key volunteers become unavailable.

How to contribute to the CCM[edit]

  1. Identify the group context you would like to self-assess. (e.g. "Wikimedia Serbia", "Tamil Wikipedia", "English Wikipedians in Detroit", "WikiMujeres user group", etc.)
  2. Read the principles above.
  3. Select some capacities to self-assess (no need to self-assess all capacities at once! Or ever!) and discuss them in your group, using the specific guidelines below.
  4. Come up with an agreed self-assessment, both for the capacity itself, and for how robust that capacity is within the group, and fill it in the CCM table, using the CCM template, ideally with a citation pointing to your discussion (if public), or at least recording in a footnote when and how it was made (for people with access). If you have other comments or clarifying remarks to add, put them in a footnote as well, right after the assessment.

Capacities and guidelines[edit]

General guidelines[edit]

  • remember it's not an exact science. Pick what fits best, or what is least misleading. :)

Assessing robustness[edit]

Your group can be said to have THIS robustness in a given capacity if the current capacity, to the extent it exists, ...
none depends entirely on a single person (whether volunteer or staff), and there is no known person who could readily step in to fill it, if and when that single person becomes unavailable.
low generally relies on a single person (whether volunteer or staff), but there is at least one other person who could fill that capacity if and when that single person becomes unavailable.
medium is regularly provided by more than person (whether volunteer or staff).
high is regularly provided by more than person (whether volunteer or staff), and there are regular opportunities for new people to be trained/introduced to the capacity to ensure availability of additional people to fulfill the capacity. (e.g. mentorship, apprenticeship, training events/sessions specifically aimed at that capacity)

Examples:

  • the Wikimedia SomeCountry chapter assesses its Financial reporting capacity as medium, because it generally manages to complete its financial reports on time and they are generally accepted without issue. It assesses its robustness in Financial reporting as none, because the financial reporting work entirely depends on the Treasurer, and no one else has ever dealt with the bank account or paperwork. If that person becomes unavailable, no one at Wikimedia SomeCountry knows who would take on the duty of financial reporting.
  • the X user group assesses its Communications and media relations capacity as low, because they only have some social media accounts, and do not have media relations with the press or TV/radio, nor have a communications strategy, nor a media response team. However, the group assesses this low capacity to be of medium robustness, because five different people have access to the social media accounts and regularly operate them, so it is confident it could maintain this level of activity even if one or two of those five become unavailable.

Communications and media relations: Social Media[edit]

How well does this group/community use social media? Does it use it only reactively (when others mention Wikimedia or external events happen) or only proactively (posting of our own initiative, announcing things we do, spreading awareness), or both? Does it use social media strategically?

Relevant for
user groups, whole wikis, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none the group has no social media accounts, or has accounts that are completely dormant/inactive.
low the group has some social media accounts, and occasionally posts or responds on the accounts, as time/inclination permits. There is no schedule or plan in advance. Analytics are not regularly tracked.
medium the group has social media accounts, and regularly uses them both proactively and reactively. There is no communication plan from which communication is derived. Analytics are sometimes tracked.
high the group has social media accounts, regularly uses them both proactively and reactively, according to a strategic communications plan. Analytics are regularly tracked, and inform the communication strategy.

Examples:

  • A user group that has social media accounts it occasionally uses to announce events would be said to have low capacity.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation's Communications Department, which handles multiple social media accounts, uses them strategically for both proactive and reactive communications according to a communications plan, tracks analytics and feeds them into subsequent planning cycles, would be said to have high capacity.

Resources:

Communications and media relations: Press and broadcast media[edit]

How well does this group engage with press (newspapers) and broadcast media (radio, television), both proactively and reactively?

Relevant for
user groups, whole wikis (sometimes), organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none the group does not have any relationships with press or broadcast media, and does not pursue or respond to press and TV coverage (if any).
low the group responds to incoming requests for interviews or comments, but does not proactively seek media opportunities. The group does not respond to independent coverage of Wikimedia (like a negative/misrepresenting story where input was not explicitly requested from the group). The group does not have a press kit (concise materials and contact info for the immediate use of reporters and producers).
medium the group has some relationships with press or broadcast media, issues press releases on notable activities (e.g. Wiki Loves Earth winners; reaching 500,000 articles) and has a public press kit. Occasionally, the group responds to independent coverage or leverages it into further coverage.
high the group regularly engages with the major press and broadcast media organizations relevant to it, does both proactive communication (press releases and pitching stories to specific media) and reactive communication (responding to interview requests, following up on misleading coverage), and has a strategic communications plan for major items or scenarios.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Conflict Resolution[edit]

One aspect of community health is how a group deals with conflict (and some conflict is inevitable). An ideally healthy community has established and well-identified channels for resolving disputes and conflict, with a clear process, which furthermore is broadly accepted and adhered to; those channels and processes are effective, and offer paths of resolution (as well as escalation, if necessary). Conflicts are regularly de-escalated and resolved by following these processes, and the wider group accepts the outcomes of these processes. Wiki communities always have at least some conflict, but organizations and groups smaller than an entire wiki community can also have conflicts, and can (and should) also have conflict-resolution mechanisms.

Relevant for
user groups, whole wikis (sometimes), organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none the group has no specific conflict resolution mechanisms. Most conflicts that arise are entirely at the hands of the individuals involved, and do not follow structured processes. Conflicts linger and fester for months or years, and keep inflicting more damage on the group or its members.
low the group has specific conflict resolution mechanisms, but they are not consistently used, or they are mostly ineffective, or themselves very controversial.
medium the group has effective conflict resolution mechanisms; when they are adhered to, conflicts and disagreements are generally resolved to the wider group's satisfaction. Most people in conflict use these channels.
high the group has effective conflict resolution mechanisms, and they are firmly in the group's consensus. Disruptive behavior or lack of cooperation in conflict resolution are quickly shut down. If things get out of hand, it is not difficult to find uninvolved members to step in and help resolve the conflict.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Abuse and Harassment Control[edit]

Not to be confused with mere conflict or disagreement, another aspect of community health is interpersonal attacks and harassment (see links under Resources for definitions). Most groups encounter some forms of this, but very much depends on how the group treats the incidents and the perpetrators of harassment and abuse. (Combating this is also one of the new movement strategic goals.)

Relevant for
user groups, whole wikis, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none the group has no particular controls against abuse and harassment. People who misbehave generally get away with it, or even receive support. Vulnerable group members are not protected. Even very problematic users cannot be effectively dealt with because of a lack of agreed-upon processes or sufficient support for action.
low the group has policies against abuse and harassment. However, some specific individuals are still problematic and manage to continue misbehaving or causing drama, despite the majority of the group disapproving of their actions. Vulnerable group members are not protected.
medium the group has effective controls against abuse and harassment, and there are clearly identified processes and channels for victims. Events and online spaces the group organizes are governed by a code of conduct or a friendly space policy.
high the group has effective controls against abuse and harassment, and there are clearly identified processes and channels for victims. Events and online spaces the group organizes are governed by a code of conduct or a friendly space policy. Additionally, vulnerable group members are regularly defended by less vulnerable ones, even without appealing to anti-harassment channels. Misbehaving group members, even if veteran contributors, are not tolerated.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Tools[edit]

Community health is a large challenge with many different aspects. Some of those lend themselves to technical solutions. But tools are only useful to the group if the group knows they exist, if they suit the group's needs (e.g. support the group's language, project, scale), and if at least some in the group know how to use those tools to further community health. Many different kinds of tools can serve a purpose in promoting community health, from statistics and tracking tools through learning and discovery tools (e.g. Snuggle, identifying promising new contributors), to patrolling and vandal-fighting tools.

Relevant for
user groups, whole wikis, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none no particular tools beyond the plain wiki software are used by the group toward community health.
low the group is aware of some purpose-specific tools (e.g. AbuseFilter) and occasionally makes use of them.
medium the group is aware of and uses a variety of tools, including powerful general-purpose tools like Quarry, PetScan or Wikidata Query, specifically to promote community health.
high the group is aware of and uses a variety of tools, including powerful general-purpose tools like Quarry, PetScan or Wikidata Query, specifically to promote community health. Additionally, members of the group write their own tools or contribute to the specification or development of additional tools, as needed.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Regular newbie-friendly in-person events[edit]

Off-wiki, in-person events are effective ways of humanizing the wiki communities and socializing wiki norms to new and potential contributors. Events can focus on a variety of things: social mingling, training, contribution drives, volunteer appreciation, and more.

The existence of a regular event or event series that newer contributors or wiki-curious people in the region can be referred to can make outreach efforts more effective, in that there are opportunities for follow-up after the initial training or outreach effort.

Relevant for
National, regional, and local organizations and groups
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none the group/region does not have regular events. Events that do happen are ad-hoc (not planned much in advance), so newbies cannot be referred to them.
low some meetings/events are held more or less regularly, less than six times a year, and there is sometimes a chance of learning about them in advance. There is usually no particular agenda, and what happens at the meeting entirely depends on who shows up. Sometimes they're social, and sometimes, especially if newbies show up, there's some training or tutoring involved. It is possible nobody would show up at all.
medium meetings or events are held regularly, at least six times a year. They are publicized at least two weeks in advance, and newbies and wiki-curious people always have a chance of learning about them. At least one experienced community member or group representative is guaranteed to show up at each event. Events generally have at least some planned component -- a talk, a presentation or demonstration, a facilitated discussion, or training.
high events are held regularly, at least once a month, according to a public schedule shared on the group/org's various communication channels. It is guaranteed at least one experienced community member or group representative would show up, and meetings always have at least some planned component.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Help and tutorial resources[edit]

Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects are complex, and the way to integrate as a contributor on the wiki is neither obvious nor trivial to follow. The availability of help and tutorial resources, in various media, focus areas, and intended level of experience, in the language one wants to contribute in, is important for assisting new and potential contributors to join and thrive in the wiki community.

Relevant for
Wiki communities, organizations, and groups
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none no help materials are available at all, or none are available in the wiki's local language.
low Some general help materials are available in the local language. They are translations from another language, or are only covering very narrow topics, in written form.
medium Plenty of help and tutorial materials are available in the local language, including materials originally composed in the wiki's local language. Materials are easy to find from the wiki and/or the group's/org's Web site or social media channels. Some materials are available in other forms beyond text (e.g. audio, video recordings). Some materials are out of date. No real-time help is available.
high Plenty of help and tutorial materials are available in the local language, including materials originally composed in the wiki's local language. Materials are easy to find from the wiki and/or the group's/org's Web site or social media channels. Some materials are available in other forms beyond text (e.g. audio, video recordings). Materials are kept up to date, and there is at least one real-time help channel (e.g. IRC, a phone number, a chat group on Facebook or WhatsApp, etc.)

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Health: Recognition[edit]

Wikimedia volunteers have a variety of motivations, and neither fame nor fortune top the list. Nonetheless, peer recognition matters a great deal to Wikimedia volunteers, and the various means of recognizing contributions are mostly-invisible but powerful forces that keep volunteers motivated and dedicated to long-term involvement in the Wikimedia projects.

Additionally, just as an early negative experience can demotivate or even drive away a new contributor, an early experience of being recognized for a positive contribution is motivating and validating to many newer contributors, and is often cited by contributors as an early experience that contributed to their remaining active in the projects.

Relevant for
Communities, organizations, and groups
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none deliberate recognition of volunteer work is not practiced by my community, group, or org.
low there is some use of on-wiki recognition features (the "thank" button; barnstars). It depends entirely on individuals' initiative, or on content contests with specific awards or prizes.
medium In addition to individual acts of on-wiki recognition, my community, group, or org, has one or more deliberate processes for recognizing contributors, on- or off-wiki, and not only in the context of contest awards.
high In addition to individual acts of on-wiki recognition and to deliberate processes for recognizing contributors, my community, group or org proactively seeks out promising contributions to recognize, e.g. using a tool such as Snuggle, or wiki statistics. It is some specific person(s) designated role to ensure such recognition happens regularly.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

  • Barnstars on English Wikipedia
  • Snuggle - a tool for identifying promising good-faith newbies

Community Health: OTRS handling[edit]

OTRS is a crucial element in Wikimedia projects' relationship with the non-Wikimedia world. It is the primary channel for most non-Wikimedians to lodge complaints, request changes, and contribute content (especially photos) without editing the wiki directly.

OTRS is staffed by a fairly small group of volunteers, relative to community sizes, and those volunteers are tasked with giving responsible, informed, and unfailingly polite answers to the inquiries, requests, and complaints from the public.

Since it is a closed system (to preserve the privacy of members of the public corresponding with volunteers in what they expect to be a private channel), even very experienced Wikimedians can be mostly or wholly ignorant of the workings of OTRS or its role, if they've never taken part in it themselves as OTRS volunteers (called "OTRS agents" in the OTRS software itself).

A well-functioning and responsive OTRS queue is essential to providing service to the public in a particular language or geography, as well as providing "institutional memory" for the entire community, enabling, for instance, the retrieval of photo permissions given more than a decade ago.

Relevant for
Wiki communities, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none My community/organization does not maintain any OTRS queues. We don't refer people to OTRS, and we don't know much about how it works or what it's good for.
low My community relies on OTRS and refers the public to it, but we benefit from general queues maintained by people outside our community/organization, and aren't involved with providing OTRS service ourselves.
medium We have volunteers in our community/organization serving as OTRS agents. We have and contribute to OTRS service in our local language. We don't have proactive monitoring of the service level, but things seem to work okay.
high We have volunteers in our community/organization serving as OTRS agents, and we proactively monitor the service level in relevant queues (to our language, geography, or our own organization's queue), to ensure timely responses and escalation where necessary.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Community Governance: Policy enforcement[edit]

All wiki communities have norms and policies of some sort in place. Some policies are shared across projects and languages, and some are local and specific to a given community. Organizations have their own set of policies over and beyond the wikis they support, some dictated by the state jurisdiction they operate in, and some coming from the organization's bylaws or subsequent decisions by the organization's general assembly or board of trustees.

However, the fact policies exist does not mean they are followed, and especially that they are followed consistently and equitably. Effective and equitable application and enforcement of policies is an important aspect of governance and community health.

Relevant for
Wiki communities, organizations.
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none We don't have set policies. Whenever something needs to be decided or responded to, ad-hoc discussions or ad-hoc initiatives take place and choose a response or reach a decision.
low We have set policies, but we have a hard time enforcing them, or enforcing them consistently. Some policies are ignored ("dead letter policy") or enforced only on new contributors. Or we lack volunteers to do the thankless task of pointing out policy violations and criticizing other contributors.
medium We have set policies that are generally enforced. Everyone is expected to abide by all policies, and there are effective remedies against violators of policy. Occasionally, very popular or experienced users get away with transgressing policy, either because no one complains about them, or because exceptions are made.
high We have set policies that are enforced without exception. Everyone follows policy or faces consequences. No exceptions are made based on popularity or length of record in the community. There is a consistent level of vigilance to detect and act on policy violations.

Examples:

  • ...

Community Governance: Governance Roles[edit]

Wiki communities are largely egalitarian, but nonetheless require some governance roles for certain kinds of decision-making, as well as technical roles with heightened technical privileges to effect actions such as deletions or blocks.

How such functionaries (admins/sysops, bureaucrats, checkusers) are recruited, appointed, and removed, can have strong influence on the overall well-being of a community.

Additionally, whether and how communities have oversight over such functionaries is important to community health. Finally, the more diverse these functionaries are, in every applicable aspect (e.g. geographical diversity is important and necessary for a global wiki such as English Wikipedia, and less practical to expect from the Estonian Wikipedia, whose contributors almost exclusively live in Estonia), the better.

Relevant for
Wiki communities; organizations, and groups
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we have no set processes for recruiting, appointing, or removing governance roles. When the need arises, an ad-hoc discussion is held. We do not have clear criteria for eligibility for governance roles.
low we have set processes for appointing some governance roles. We do not have clear processes for removing people from governance roles.
medium we have set processes for appointing people to governance roles and for removing people from them. We have written and public criteria, and people regularly apply for such roles. We do not proactively monitor how volunteers are doing in governance roles. We do not proactively seek to promote diversity in governance roles.
high We have set processes for appointing people to and removing people from governance roles. We proactively monitor community satisfaction with volunteers in governance roles. We proactively encourage greater diversity in governance roles, by encouraging a diverse range of candidates to apply.

Examples:

  • ...

Community Governance: Living policy[edit]

Wiki policy is decided by active community members through deliberative processes, and is subject to change and update at any time. In practice, policies sometimes calcify, or "freeze", because of a perception that they are immutable or permanent, or because it seems impossible to generate enough momentum and support to achieve a policy change.

But policies, even if they were a good fit for a project when they were set, can eventually become unsuitable for the state of a project, and need revision. The degree to which a project's policies are living and changing to suit new or changed needs is one measure of the community's health and vigor.

Relevant for
Wiki communities
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none Our policies are nonexistent, or not followed, or copied wholesale from another project and never revised.
low Our policies are sometimes discussed, and rarely -- but sometimes -- updated or changed, if there's sufficient support. If a clear need for new policy arises, we look around to find existing policy on a larger project.
medium Our policies are regularly discussed, and generally kept up to date with the project's growth and changing needs. If a clear need for new policy arises, we deliberate and come up with policy suitable for our project.
high Our policies are regularly discussed, and updated as necessary. Additionally, we employ tools and/or experiments to gauge the effectiveness of our policies, and we take action if those results indicate a problem.

Examples:

  • ...

Partnerships: Identifying & negotiating with prospective partners[edit]

Partnerships include any relationship with non-Wikimedia organizations and individuals that are used to further the Wikimedia mission. While partnerships with organizations are more common, partnerships with individuals can include those who donate their copyrighted content (e.g. authors, photographers) or otherwise contribute to the mission (e.g. providing space for Wikimedian activities; offering professional training to Wikimedia volunteers).

Identifying good prospects for partnership between Wikimedia and other organizations can be complex and challenging, and negotiating with prospective partners can be difficult for both Wikimedia volunteers and representatives of the prospective partner. In addition to basic partnership-building skills and know-how, such as studying your prospective partner, using your prospective partner's vocabulary, and negotiating for mutual benefit, there are specific issues with presenting and representing Wikimedia to partners, such as the degree to which a group/organization has (doesn't have) control over wiki editorial policies, what we consider reliable sources, or the way we treat copyright issues, which can be both more liberal and more conservative than what partners may expect or practice themselves.

Relevant for
Wiki communities, groups, and organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none We don't create partnerships at all.
low We are interested in and trying to create partnerships, but haven't created any yet.
medium We have created at least one partnership. We run things ad-hoc and do our best given opportunities and circumstances. We don't have standards and set practices about identifying and negotiating with prospective partners.
high We have created multiple partnerships. We have some standards and set practices for identifying and negotiating with prospective partners. We have materials for prospective partners in the local language.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Partnerships: Executing and evaluating partnerships[edit]

Once started, a partnership creates deadlines, commitments, and relationships, all of which need to be managed. Failure to meet partner expectations, or timelines, can result in a souring of the relationship and in loss of reputation.

Executing a partnership well requires coordination of multiple resources of the group/org, and active communication with the partner (and sometimes with multiple people/roles on the partner side).

During and at the conclusion of a partnership, it is important to evaluate the partnership/project, to assess its impact toward the Wikimedia mission as well as the group's/org's own development, and to draw lessons for improvement.

Relevant for
groups, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none We do not have partnerships.
low We have at least one partnership. We run it in an ad-hoc manner and learn as we go. We do not evaluate the project in any way. We don't document the partnership plan or progress, beyond an initial contact or memorandum of understanding (MoU).
medium We run partnerships with clearly designated roles on both our side and the partner's. We document the partnership processes and progress. We evaluate at the end of the project/partnership and draw lessons for the future.
high We run partnerships with clearly designated roles on both our side and the partner's. We document the partnership processes and progress. We evaluate during and at the end of the project/partnership and draw lessons for the future. We proactively share these lessons, and the fruits of the partnership, with our peers in the movement, in our local context, and/or the partner's context.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Active Wikidata expertise[edit]

Wikidata is an increasingly powerful repository of free knowledge, with a diverse range of uses and value for end-users and for partners.

It is also a very different wiki than other Wikimedia projects, and learning it is challenging for people without a pre-existing familiarity with linked data technology and computer ontologies. Consequently, quite a few Wikimedia groups are not making as much use of Wikidata as they might have, and are not contributing to and promoting Wikidata's value in their local context and language.

Active Wikidata expertise encompasses the ability to contribute structured data to Wikidata, to query Wikidata effectively, and to represent and explicate Wikidata to new contributors and to partners.

Relevant for
groups, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none We don't touch Wikidata at all, and don't understand it. Or we only do the minimum interwiki linking.
low We have some individuals contributing to Wikidata, but knowledge of Wikidata is not widely shared in the group/org, and we are not comfortable explaining it to others, or basing projects on it.
medium A bunch of us contribute to Wikidata regularly, and we are comfortable as a group in contributing to and querying Wikidata. We use it in our own projects, such as content competitions, statistics-gathering, or to-do list generation, but we do not have Wikidata-based partnerships or do much outreach with a Wikidata focus.
high Our group/org is comfortable with contributing to and querying Wikidata, as well as explaining it and teaching new contributors and/or partners. We involve Wikidata in all/most of our projects, as well as our outreach and partnership efforts.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Keeping up with tech news[edit]

The Wikimedia ecosystem relies heavily on technology, and a lot of development is happening constantly, not only by the large engineering force at the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland, but also by individual volunteer tool builders and by Wikimedia partners. Keeping up with every technical development is challenging, especially for communities with fewer English speakers, as English is the de-facto language of communication in tech even more than it is for non-technical issues.

The Wikimedia Foundation curates a Tech News weekly bulletin, which is made available for translation, and is perhaps the easiest investment to make in staying up-to-date on tech matters.

Relevant for
communities, groups, and organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we just can't keep up. We depend on individuals eventually discovering things on their own, and on ad-hoc contact with others who can show us new things (e.g. at conferences).
low we try to keep up, but we don't have enough volunteers to pay attention to the Tech News, and we don't have any of it translated to our local language.
medium we generally keep up, and our own technical volunteers are fairly well-informed, and they relay relevant technical news to the rest of the community/group, in the local language.
high we keep up with pretty much all the tech news, and we have volunteer translation of Tech News (and possibly other sources) into the local language and posted on the local wiki or social channels.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Templates[edit]

Templates are the primary mechanism of re-using content and design on the wiki. They are ubiquitous on wikis, powering everything from infoboxes, navigation boxes ("navboxes"), to citations and fancy designs. They also support some rudimentary logical operations, allowing conditional processing of content and even primitive loops.

However, templates are also complex and sometimes confusing to learn, and have some peculiarities due to the gradual patchwork way they were added to MediaWiki over the years. New contributors often find templates a difficult obstacle to absorb, as they learn wiki techniques, and many remain without a working knowledge of templates.

Relevant for
communities, groups, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't understand or use templates, except when copying a block of wikitext that happens to contain some.
low we use templates, such as infoboxes or citation templates. We are not comfortable with creating or modifying templates.
medium We use templates and create or modify templates to meet our needs. We mostly copy and adapt other templates, but it works for us.
high Our group has templates expertise, and we are able to get the most out of templates.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Bots[edit]

"Bots" are computer programs (or "scripts") that perform useful tasks on the wiki that can safely be relegated to a machine. There are "read-only" bots that do not modify mainspace wiki content (articles on Wikipedia, texts on Wikisource, files on Commons, etc.), but rather gather statistics or compile maintenance reports on project- or userspace, and there are "read-write" bots that modify mainspace wiki content, doing things like fixing common and clear spelling mistakes, tidying up style and markup, and even combating obvious vandalism.

Another way to think of it is that bots fill gaps left by the MediaWiki software, implementing "missing features" or performing highly-customized tasks (such as collecting statistics for a particular content contest).

Bots are generally written and maintained by individual volunteers. Many are hosted on the Wikimedia Foundation's Toolforge and benefit from Toolforge features such as the replicated wiki databases, but bots can be run from one's own computer or any Internet-connect machine, relying on the MediaWiki API.

Many bot operators share their code as free software, and encourage re-use or adaptation by other communities and groups. Some have even created a bot framework, which is a toolkit to make the creation of bot programs easier, and includes a number of ready-made scripts (bots) that one can run in a configurable manner (e.g. select the wiki to work on, or specify a category or article name).

Mature wiki communities tend to limit or control which bots are permitted to run on the wiki, to prevent chaos or extensive damage from buggy or misguided bots (however well-meaning their operators). Such communities impose bot policies and/or bot review committees, to help ensure bot operators build bots that are desirable and useful to the community.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't know anything about bots and don't use them.
low we use some bots written by others, or available in PyWikiBot or a similar package. We don't have a bot policy or a bot review process.
medium We build our own bots (or are able to have them built for us) to meet our needs. We use the MediaWiki API or the PyWikiBot framework.
high We build our own bots (or are able to have them built for us) to meet our needs. We use both MediaWiki API and direct database access on Tool Labs. We share our bots' code as free software on Gerrit or GitHub or a similar public platform. We have a bot policy or a bot review process.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Lua scripting[edit]

Lua is a modern programming language available in MediaWiki pages. It is easy for C and JavaScript programmers to pick up, and is designed to be lightweight and easy to work with. It permits more sophisticated logic and processing than the limited capacities of wiki templates. Lua is useful for creating neat displays with complex or custom logic, as well as for post-processing data coming in from Wikidata.

For example, to apply the non-default-gender label to data coming from Wikidata in languages that have noun genders, one needs to use Lua code.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we know nothing about Lua and do not use it.
low we use some Lua code using #invoke calls that others have introduced us to, but we don't know how they work and we can't create our own Lua modules.
medium we use Lua to meet our needs and have the ability to craft our own solutions using Lua.
high we use Lua regularly, and also package some of our most useful and re-usable code as modules for other communities to use.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Gadgets, user scripts, AbuseFilter[edit]

Gadgets are software features that can be added to a wiki and exposed as a user interface element (such as a button, a tab, or a link in the sidebar) to users.

User scripts are bits of JavaScript code that can be run by user choice and modify or enhance wiki functionality.

AbuseFilter is a MediaWiki extension allowing privileged users to set specific actions to be taken when actions by users, such as edits, match certain criteria. For example, a filter could be created to prevent anonymous users from adding external links, or to block a user who removes more than 2000 characters. Much can be accomplished against vandalism and spam using AbuseFilter.

All three technologies are under-utilized across the Wikimedia movement. For some, they are hard to learn, but mostly, they are not widely enough known, especially in smaller communities or groups.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't know anything about any of these. We only use the defaults already existing in our wiki.
low We use at least one of these technologies. We rely on re-using gadgets/scripts/abusefilters created by others. We don't have the necessary knowledge to change or develop these ourselves.
medium We use one or more of these technologies. We can build our own and adapt existing code to suit our needs.
high We use all three of these technologies, and we believe we have developed some gadgets/scripts/abusefilters that could be useful to other communities, and we document and proactively share them.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: CentralNotice[edit]

CentralNotice is the primary way of broadcasting messages through wikis, to any of a range of target audiences. CentralNotice has advanced capabilities for focusing the audience, distinguishing between logged-in users (approximately wiki contributors, as most non-contributors don't bother to log in) and not logged-in visitors, and able to geolocate to specific countries and regions, and to span multiple wikis.

It is routinely used for cross-wiki announcements and messaging, such as fundraising, announcing content contests, announcing the Wikimania scholarships application period, or inviting participation in elections and other cross-community activities. It is also routinely used for more local and specific announcements and campaigns, focusing on one language or one country, or a combination thereof.

CentralNotice is managed through Meta, and is a powerful tool. Therefore, use of it is somewhat regulated, and people are encouraged to learn a bit about the various aspects of the tool before requesting messaging campaigns.

And yet, this tool is also under-utilized across the movement, with whole communities (and groups, and organizations) never making any use of it, thereby missing out on its powerful ability to reach people.

Relevant for
communities, groups, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't know anything about it, and we never use it.
low we know what it is, and we occasionally use it, but we don't know how to use it ourselves, so we ask someone external to our community/group/org to do it for us.
medium We know how to use CentralNotice and we regularly place CentralNotice requests ourselves.
high We have a lot of expertise with CentralNotice, and we participate in administrating CentralNotice and help serve other groups' and wikis' requests.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Handling image donations[edit]

The Wikimedia movement has been soliciting and receiving large donations of images for over a decade now. Memory institutions (museums, archives, etc.) often have large collections of images they can share with the world via the Wikimedia Commons. Negotiating such donations can be complex (and is covered by other capacities in this map, such as Partnership Negotiation), but even after the negotiations are complete, there is a series of technical challenges involved in shepherding a large image donation through to Commons and onwards to re-use in other wiki projects and by the general public.

This capacity encompasses these technical issues, including metadata mapping (i.e. how fields in the donor institution's catalog/database match attributes in Commons templates [or, soon, in Wikidata-powered Structured Data on Commons properties]), planning batch uploads, testing batches, re-ingesting batches, and sometimes even contributing changes upstream (i.e. sharing volunteer-suggested corrections to metadata with the donor institution).

There are some advanced tools to assist with this, such as the older GLAMwiki Toolset (GWT) and the newer (and more user-friendly) Pattypan.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we have never handled a large image donation, and don't know how to do it.
low we have received some image donations, but we handled them manually, using simple uploaders such as Commonist.
medium we have handled at least one large image donation, using either GLAMwiki Toolset or Pattypan. We have developed some procedures and knowledge on how to facilitate this.
high We have handled several large image donations, using either GLAMwiki Toolset or Pattypan or custom-written code. We are able to handle re-ingestions and to offer our image donors upstream updates. We are confident we can handle any large image donation that comes our way.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Technical skills: Handling data donations[edit]

To receive data donations to Wikidata effectively requires a good deal of preparation, and a good understanding of both Wikidata's and the donor's ontologies. There is some experience in the movement in receiving such donations, and there are already very large open data sets that could be ingested to Wikidata, with more data sets becoming available, as governments and institutions gradually open their data.

There are some tools to facilitate data donations, and some documented processes (see Resources below), but relatively few groups and organizations in the Wikimedia movement have been involved in data donations so far.

Relevant for
communities, groups, organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we know nothing about data donations, and have not been involved in any.
low we understand what data donations are, and we use Wikidata, but we don't have the know-how to help a donating partner approach Wikidata and execute the donation
medium We have been involved with at least one data donation, and are familiar with the process and tools
high we are experienced in several data donations, and are expert at using the tools, or have developed our own custom tools and processes.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Event production: Logistics and organization[edit]

Events could have the best planned programs, a stellar set of participants, and the most inspiring of goals, but if the WiFi doesn't work, or if the catering does not arrive, they can still be complete failures, because the pre-requisite to impactful outcomes in an event is competent logistics.

Producing an event is a lot of work, most of it invisible to event participants, and nobody is born knowing how to produce events. It's a set of learned skills and experience, and most groups do not have the benefit of a professional event planner among them, so have to pick up those skills on their own, over time.

This capacity covers everything related to making the event happen except for the program and the funding. This includes:

  • venue selection
  • registration process
  • catering
  • accommodation (if applicable)
  • flight booking (if applicable)
  • logistics for invited speakers (if applicable)
  • venue preparation
  • WiFi
  • WiFi again, because it cannot be overestimated :)
  • adequate power sources
  • sound equipment (amplification, microphones) (if applicable)
  • recording or streaming (if applicable)
  • attendee kits (if applicable)
  • safe space policy
  • signs and directions to venue (if applicable)
  • publicizing the event
  • contingency plans (e.g. what if it rains?)
  • a surprising amount of things any such list inevitably leaves out!
Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we have not organized any events yet, and we are not confident we know how to.
low we have organized at least one event. We improvised and it more or less worked, but we can't say we are confident about our event production capacity.
medium we have produced more than one event. By now, we know how to do it, and we have the basics covered fairly well. The items in the list above did not surprise us. But we still struggle in some events to achieve smooth logistics.
high we produce many events, and have become fairly professional at doing so. Our events generally run on-time and on-budget, and we are prepared in advance with contingencies.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources: (note: this is an area covered particularly well in learning patterns, so we only link below to a few important ones explicitly, and to the general category of event management patterns)

Event production: Event program (content) design[edit]

Wikimedia events are almost always useful. Simply getting Wikimedia volunteers in the same space, socializing, talking, sharing food, generates goodwill, mutual understanding, networking, and friendships. Outreach events, too, almost always achieve at least some degree of familiarizing the audience with Wikimedia projects, principles, or programs.

And yet, to maximize the value of an event, especially one where significant expense was incurred to physically bring the participants into the same venue (e.g. an international event, or a large-scale national event in a big country, or a multi-day event requiring paid accommodation in even a small country or region), it is crucial to have an effective program for the event.

Effective programs are programs that match goals with the right participants (or match suitable goals for given participants) and with the right activities and methods for achieving those goals. Different events may have different types of goals: brainstorming requires different approaches and methods than strategizing, problem-solving, teaching skills, conveying information, soliciting input, or fundraising.

Designing an effective program for the planned type and composition of the event, also taking into account the logistics of the event, is a big challenge, and largely depends on commitment and experience by the organizers. Although there is a lot of experience in event program design across the movement, it is not always utilized by less-experienced event organizers, and sometimes it gets de-prioritized in favor of more urgent issues like logistics crises.

An effective program also requires effective speakers and facilitators. While it is often unknown how proficient a speaker or facilitator is in advance, a mature program process learns from feedback and does not repeated the assigning of poor and ineffective speakers or facilitators to future event programs.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we've never designed a program for an event
low we've held some events that had a program. We built it ad-hoc, based on our best intuitions about what would work.
medium We have processes for planning programs for events we run. We appoint a program manager, or a program committee, and we taking into account the expected audience, the venue logistics, and our group's goals in holding the event. We solicit feedback about the program during or after the event, to learn and improve. We never reject speakers or facilitators based on their past performance.
high We have a lot of experience designing programs for events, including events for international or otherwise very diverse audiences. Our event programs are built carefully using inputs from expected participants, past experience, and current goals. We know what methods and activities tend to work for each kind of goal we are aiming for, and our programs reflect this. We solicit feedback about the program during or after all our events, and that feedback regularly affects our thinking about future events. We sometimes reject speakers or facilitators based on their past performance.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Fundraising: Infrastructure[edit]

Fundraising infrastructure refers to internal technical capabilities which enable the collection and proper handling of online donations.

Relevant for
Organizations which accept online donations for all or part of their operating budget.
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none No online fundraising capabilities. No record-keeping for donors or donations; Nothing to reconcile with finance.
low Some irregular online fundraising activities.
  • One online payment option, fully hosted by a 3rd party (requires redirect). May require manual review to complete transactions. Donation form may be seasonally available.
  • Donor / donation information is kept in a spreadsheet, requiring manual updates. Controlled and secured by one person.
  • Single yearly attempt to reconcile donation data with financial accounts. High tolerance for discrepancies.
  • Payment processor handles all antifraud concerns
  • Recorded donor/donation data may be able to differentiate between large categories of campaign sources. For example, donations can be broken down in a report as originating from an email message vs. those that came in from a web-based appeal. May be incomplete.
medium Some regular online fundraising activities.
  • Multiple online payment options. Self-hosted payment processing (if any) has met all security requirements to ensure donor privacy (Example: PCI compliance for Credit Card). Manual intervention required to complete online payments is unusual. Donation capabilities are usually available to the public.
  • Donor and donation information is kept in a Database / CRM system. Data input may not yet be fully automated.
  • Infrequent reconciliation process between CRM data and financial accounts, at least twice a year. Discrepancies between the CRM and financial accounts are investigated and debugged.
  • Some internal systems to help identify and stop donation fraud
  • Recorded donation/donor data is able to break down donations not only by general source category, but by a specific variant of that source (example: Email “A” vs. Email “B”, or two different banner messages).
high Raising funds online, on a consistent schedule.
  • Multiple payment options spanning multiple localities, presented to the donor in an appropriately localized workflow. Self-hosted payment processing has met all security requirements to ensure donor privacy (Example: PCI compliance for Credit Card). Except in extremely rare cases, no manual intervention is required for online payment processing.
  • Donor/donation data is kept in a CRM with full donation history, populated automatically. CRM data is analyzed regularly, and the results of that analysis drives campaign choices.
  • Regular financial reconciliation process throughout the year. Discrepancies between the CRM and financial accounts are investigated and debugged.
  • Internal systems to help identify and stop donation fraud are frequently examined and adjusted.
  • Recorded donor/donation data supports precise campaign A/B testing. For each donation, you are able to recreate that donor’s specific experience, and are able to tell where failed donations dropped off in the donation process.

Examples:

  • ...

Fundraising: Campaigns[edit]

Fundraising can be entirely passive, providing a method of making donations and waiting for donations to come in. But fundraising can also be done proactively, with campaigns, limited in time or audience or theme or any combination thereof.

A fundraising campaign is a combination of effective communications (of the goal/mission you work towards, of the projects/activities portfolio of the organization), and operations (the technical set-up of payment processing (or integration with an external payment processor), including adequate handling for refunds, fraud, etc., all of which are required for fundraising in general, but which escalate in importance during an intensive campaign, when glitches in these processes can become very costly in money or reputation).

Effective campaigns have A/B-tested messages, good timing (targeting or avoiding holidays, end-of-year, etc.), and responsible follow-through. (e.g. a report one year later for those who did not opt out of receiving one).

Relevant for
organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't have fundraising campaigns.
low We occasionally try a fundraising drive by posting some requests on social media. The messages are invented and not A/B tested, and the timing is chosen ad-hoc. We use the general materials about our organization, rather than a customized portfolio for the campaign.
medium We regularly do fundraising campaigns. We have project/org portfolios specifically designed for the campaign, and we apply lessons from previous fundraisers to hone and improve our messages and our timing.
high Our fundraising campaigns run on a carefully selected calendar based on A/B testing timing. Our campaign messages are A/B tested for maximal efficacy within our norms. Our project/org portfolio is customized for each campaign, and includes fresh information from our past year of activity. We regularly adjust our messages based on performance in each campaign.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

  • ...

Fundraising: Donor relations and fundraising communications[edit]

Donors to Wikimedia organizations are people and organizations giving money to support the Wikimedia mission. There are several different motivations that could lead a person or organization to support the Wikimedia mission, e.g. not just an interest in free knowledge in general, but also specific interests like science education, or cultural interests like multilingualism or support for a local language.

Some donors are happy to make a one-off donation and never hear from Wikimedia again, but many donors are interested in an ongoing relationship with the Wikimedia organization they help fund. This may take the form of a single annual report, or a more active subscription to more frequent news from the organization, such as a blog or social media channels.

A mature fundraising organization is helping its donors receive news from the organization at an appropriate frequency and level of detail. It also has a channel for donors to ask questions (many of them would not be comfortable or interested in using wiki talk pages) or express concerns.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we have no donors, or we have no donor communications
low we have some donors, and we include them in general annual communications like our public annual report or general social media communications.
medium we have donors and we have specific communication designed for them, in addition to public and general communications.
high we have donors and we have specific communication designed for them, including specific channels (such as e-mail) to receive questions or concerns from donors. Donors are guaranteed a response when they contact us.

Examples:

  • ...

Evaluation: Project evaluation[edit]

Wikimedians regularly come up with ideas for projects to promote the Wikimedia Mission. Some of them are better ideas than others. Some of them sound good in theory, but end up unworkable in practice. Some are good ideas, but their first execution isn't successful.

To tell these apart, projects need to be evaluated. Evaluation allows a group to consider what outcomes were hoped for, versus what outcomes have been achieved; what resources were expended or invested in the project activities; what has been learned toward future repetitions of the project (or toward deciding not to); what gaps in know-how or capacity have been noticed during the project; and more.

Evaluation is another skill nobody is born with. The basics can be picked up easily enough, and there is a growing body of knowledge in the movement about project evaluation. One key component of evaluation is relying on more than your own perception and judgment of what happened, and a key tool for adding perspective is surveys.

Relevant for
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we run no projects, or we never evaluate them.
low we evaluate some of our work, especially when required to, e.g. by a grant report, but we don't find much value in it.
medium we evaluate most of our work, even when not required to, because we see value in testing our hypotheses and correcting our direction or methods if things don't work as expected. Our findings aren't always effectively acted upon. We sometimes repeat preventable mistakes, or execute projects we already know to be not effective, or in ways we have already found to be less effective.
high evaluation is built into all our programmatic work, and conclusions and lessons drawn from evaluation almost always affect future work, and we mostly don't repeat preventable mistakes.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Evaluation: Staff evaluation[edit]

An organization employing staff is responsible for evaluating their performance periodically, to ensure the organization is well-served by the employee, and to ascertain whether the employee's skills are put to the best possible use, as well as whether they have concerns about the work or about their supervisors (be they other staff or board members).

Relevant for
organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we don't have staff.
low we have staff, but we don't have formal staff evaluation at any point. Any review and feedback to employees is done ad-hoc, if/when a need arises.
medium we have staff, and they are regularly given some kind of review, at least once every two years. The reviews are semi-formal, and not always written down. Things discussed in the reviews aren't always tracked to verify progress is made or challenges tackled.
high We have staff, and they are regularly given some kind of review, at least once a year. Those reviews are documented in writing, and are the basis for decisions such as salary changes, promotions, termination, or policy change. Concerns raised about the organization or other employees are acted upon.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

  • ...

Human resources: Staff policies[edit]

Organizations employing staff need to follow certain procedures set by the state (and sometimes city) they operate in. If funding for the staff is wholly or partially provided by the Wikimedia movement (e.g. through grants by the Wikimedia Foundation), there are additional expectations about the organization's staff.

A mature organization has official, documented policies regarding hiring people (how and where recruitment happens, non-discrimination policy, compensation (salary) levels, confidentiality expectations, etc.), terminating employment (severance payments, procedures before termination, etc.), expense and travel policies, benefits and medical leave policies, maternity/parental leave policy, and policy regarding conflict of interest.

Relevant for
organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none we have no staff, and no policies.
low We have staff, but no formal policies, or we're still working out the policies. We are not quite in compliance with the requirements of local jurisdiction.
medium we have staff, and have developed and documented all or most of the above-mentioned policies. The policies are followed and govern these areas of the organization's work. We meet local jurisdiction expectations.
high we have staff, solid written documents for all the above-mentioned policies (and possibly more), and we meet or surpass all local jurisdiction expectations. We also regularly audit or monitor compliance with those policies, via internal audit committee or through external auditors.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Organizational governance: Secretariat[edit]

Organizations that are legal entities, and particularly membership organizations, have legal and formal duties related to their membership as well as (usually) duties of transparency to the state and/or to the general public.

These include keeping a membership roll, accepting new members and removing inactive or delinquent ones, convening an annual general meeting (AGM, general assembly), keeping minutes (a written record, "protocols") of general meetings and (in some jurisdictions) board meetings, and (in some jurisdictions) allowing extraordinary general meetings. Different jurisdictions may impose additional duties on an organization's secretariat. Organizations that have paid staff generally rely on staff to perform secretariat duties.

Relevant for
Organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none Although we are an organization, we do not perform these duties, i.e. we are not currently meeting our minimal legal obligations.
low We are meeting the minimal legal obligations, but often miss deadlines and/or have very incomplete information in our minutes. It is not clear in advance who is in charge of meeting those duties, or whom to ask about secretariat issues. Annual general meetings are not announced more than a month in advance. It is not clear and public how to join the organization, what a member's duties are, and how to apply for governance roles within the organization.
medium We are meeting our legal obligations on time, and there is a clear designation of who is/are in charge of secretariat duties. Minutes are reasonably complete and published on time. Annual general meetings are announced at least a month in advance. There is public information about how to join the organization, what a member's duties are, and how to apply for governance roles within the organization.
high We are meeting our legal obligations on time, and there is a clear designation of who is/are in charge of secretariat duties. Minutes are complete and published on time. There is public information about how to join the organization, what a member's duties are, and how to apply for governance roles within the organization. This information is also proactively shared on public channels and to existing members by e-mail or post.

The organization's compliance calendar is proactively owned by the secretariat, and general meetings and compliance deadlines are known and planned for months in advance. The board is never surprised by an unmet compliance or membership issue.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

  • ...

Organizational governance: Reporting[edit]

Groups and organizations in the Wikimedia movement always have some reporting duties, to the Foundation, to the community, and/or to the state. These include activity reports, financial reports, project and grant reports.

Most people find report-writing to be less exciting than the activities covered in the report, so report-writing is often perceived as a chore. A clear and useful report is not trivial to prepare, and good report-writing is a skill, and one most people do not find natural.

Yet reports are often the only channel for informing groups outside the immediate core of activists in a group or organization: the general membership, donors, the Foundation, partners, and the general public.

Relevant for
Groups and organizations
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none We do not write reports at all. Or we tried but can't.
low We sometimes produce reports, but we do not manage to meet our minimum report-writing duties. Or we are consistently late in submitting reports. Our reports are a chore to us, and we don't receive good feedback about them.
medium We manage to meet our report-writing duties all or most of the time. Our reports are a chore, but we are getting better at producing them. Occasionally we get good feedback about them, from the report recipients or from other interested readers.
high We consistently submit our reports on time. We report about our activities as an integral part of our work, and not as a chore we consider superfluous to the work. We take pride in our reports, and we include them in our outreach and/or partnership-building efforts, and we regularly get good feedback about our reports.

Examples:

  • ...

Resources:

Organizational governance: Financial controls[edit]

Financial controls play an important role in ensuring the accuracy of reporting, eliminating fraud and protecting the organization’s resources, both physical and intangible. These internal control procedures reduce process variation, leading to more predictable outcomes. Financial controls can look quite different between organizations of different sizes and purposes.  However, there are concepts that should be considered for all organizations, including:

  • Defined segregation of duties
  • Defined delegation of financial authority
  • Formal financial record keeping
  • Preparation of a budget.
  • Good governance practices
  • Regular financial reporting that conforms to the local standards (ie. IFRS or GAAP)
  • Documented policies and procedures
  • Independent third-party audit
Relevant for
Any group that manages money. The more money, the more relevant the financial controls become.
Assess your group's capacity
at THIS level...
if the following is true, ...
none The organization does not have established practices around any of the concepts listed above. Financial resources can be used by whoever has access to them.  Nearly no records are kept or reviewed. No reporting or budgeting is done.
low The organization has financial duties assigned to individuals, but does not have a clear segregation of duties or methods to verify that transactions are legitimate before they are completed. Financial records are kept but there is no formalized record keeping system.  The organization does not produce budgets or reports unless requested from an external party.The organization does not have documented policies and does not get audited.
medium The organization has some segregation of financial duties and defined financial authority.  Formal financial records exist and are regularly maintained. The organization produces a budget and financial statements, at minimum, annually. The board reviews their budget and financial statements as part of their governance practices. The organization has documented financial policies but not procedures. The organization is audited annually by an independent auditor.
high Documented policies and procedures govern the most important aspects of the organization’s finances. Policies and procedures are followed. There is clearly defined segregation of duties and delegation of financial authority designed to prevent fraud and inaccuracy. The organization regularly maintains formal financial records in an appropriate accounting system. Access to financial records is controlled. The organization develops detailed annual budgets, produces regular financial reports that are reviewed by senior leaders, and is audited by an independent auditor.